According to November 25 TIME story on inventions¹ (polling 10,000 people from 17 countries, see our post on Nov. 18),

 

The 3 most important inventions² are

 

(1)  Electricity³

(2)  The Internet

(3)   The Wheel

 

What might surprise you, is what people considered the most useful inventions.

 

For MORE use the DOOR.

 

[MORE]

 

HERE ARE THE MOST USEFUL INVENTIONS OF ALL TIME (and some added comments by Time.)  I assume these are the “Top 8,” though, again, Time is vague about the “numbers” and characteristics of responders in each country to their poll, and what affected the choices they made. Remember developing countries are responding to this as well as countries with “mature” markets. (See Note ¹)

 

(1)  71%      cell phone

(2)  5.2%    disposable diaper      (14% among female consumers in U.S.;                                                                         9% among U.S. consumers)

(3)  4.2%     alarm clocks

(4)  3.7%     TV remote

(5)  3.9% *   Velcro      (14% among German consumers)

(6)  3.7%     cruise control    (12% among consumers UAE)   

(7)  2.9%      rice cooker    (10% among Indonesian consumers)

(8)  1.1%       blow dryer

The TIME essay, despite some puzzling questions it might raise, is an excellent snapshot of who we–the global community– are, and a thematic history (in terms of technical invention) of from where we’ve recently come. The narrative is engaging, and the graphics are excellent.

It is also a powerful argument for the uniqueness and abilities of the human mind.

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¹ This information is the result of a Time Invention Poll, in cooperation with Qualcomm, which was a survey of 10,197 people in 7 “mature” markets (South Korea, the U.S., Germany, Sweden, Australia, the U.K. and Singapore and 10 “emerging” markets (South Africa, Kenya, Russia, The United Arab Emirates, China, Brazil, Turkey, India, Mexico, and Indonesia). Unfortunately for this rich summary of extensive information for a popular magazine, some desired details of how the data were collected do not appear. The overview nonetheless is informative. This was the feature article in the Nov. 25, 2013, issue of Time.

² Whether this is 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, I’m not sure–Time doesn’t say.

³ Not well worded or logically accurate, I must say. “Electricity” is not an invention. After its discovery, “harnessing electricity” and using it to do things, however, is.

* Why Time put “Velcro” after “TV remote” I have no idea. It could be an error or misprint. My numbers represent what was published. And why I used and asterisk (*) instead of a “4″? My website package provides superscripts only up to “3.” (I could have imported it, perhaps, from a specially created Word document…but didn’t.)